To The Maxx

the men of minibar
August 10, 2007, 10:55 pm
Filed under: music

hello there. it’s been a while.

i am living in new york for a month-ish, and it’s going well…. just been working a little too hard to blog about anything. but i finally have a moment to breathe, and thought i’d share two nice ditties by two nice men.

so, many moons ago i was on tour with pete yorn.
as you may or may not know, the great minibar play in pete’s backing band.

minibar have a long and interesting history… they came to california from england in the late 90s and cut a record for a major-label. said record was well-received but didn’t sell. the band was dropped and had to pick themselves off, dust themselves off and push forward. their sound makes perfect sense considering their backstory. englishmen move to the west coast: imagine the byrds at a pub with teenage fanclub.

minibar have put out three albums thus far, but in the last year, 2 of the band’s four members self-released two very different solo projects.

solomon’s seal is a plant… a member of the lily family, used to mend broken bones. it is also the name of the solo project by minibar’s frontman simon petty. the record is called “the sea, the sea.”

simon’s songwriting is center stage here, as producer seth rothschild strips away all embellishments, all tricks. it is a focused record of moody folk music, somber tales for a grey day. to my ear, simon’s songs often recall the elegance and emotional resonance of nick drake‘s work. but simon is his own songwriter and his songs have their own lives. they fit together splendidly, creating what becomes, upon repeated listens, a thoroughly cohesive record… so much so that it was very difficult for me to choose the right one to share…. i finally decided on a powerful and deceptively simple track called “golden haze.”



the video for solomon’s seal: “sleeping in the car,” directed by jim wright.

and now for something completely different.

malcolm cross is minibar’s (and pete yorn’s) wildman drummer, and he recently put out his second record as morello. everyone knows that mal can drum, but i don’t think it’s common knowledge that he is a skilled pianist and songwriter in his own right. and mal’s compositions are far away from the vibe of minibar.

morello‘s new record, “handheld,” sounds like stevie wonder playing video games with phoenix and daft punk. it’s super fun, vocoder-ed out, danceable technicolor popmusik! mal’s partner in crime, Em C, lends her pipes to the record as well, pumping up the playful coed duet jams. this is one of my favorite morello tracks, a dramatic relationship as video game allegory par excellence.


BONUS: click HERE for a video for the morello song “exchange student” that i edited for mal.

Buy “Handheld” CD or iTunes


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Comment by Nicole

where can we find “the sea, the sea” to purchase?

(forgive if i missed this…am not the best reader. am one heckuva skimmer…and listener though)

Comment by aninquisitiveanimal

i think only through simon… send him a message on the solomon’s seal page.

Comment by tothemaxxx

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